February 2010

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lunar Dust-Tolerant Electrical Connector

An electrical connector was developed that is tolerant of the presence of lunar dust. Novel features of the connector include the use of a permeable membrane to act both as a dust barrier and as a wiper to limit the amount of dust that makes its way into the internal chamber of the connector. The...

Nanoionics-based devices have shown promise as alternatives to microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and semiconductor diode devices for switching radio-frequency (RF) signals in...

Techs for License
Positive-Locking Fastener

Phil-Lok Fastener

Most locking fastener systems use some sort of vibrationresistant method to prevent fastener loosening. The most common method is the lock washer, in use for over 100 years. Although lock washers will inhibit rotation of the nut by increasing friction, they do not provide a positive rotation...

Techs for License
Low-Cost “Green” Coatings Modify Metal Surfaces

GreenKote

Greenkote coating technology is a coating method for steel and other metals that can replace a range of existing coating methods. The coating is environmentally friendly, and it is applicable to a range of base materials. In the process, parts are introduced to a rotating...

Tech Needs
Technology for Drilling, Cutting, and Separating Materials

A company seeks alternative methods for sawing, drilling, boring, cutting, or otherwise separating materials such as wood, metal, and composites. When compared to conventional methods, the new technology should be faster, easier, provide a cleaner cut in terms of smoothness and dust in...

Tech Needs
Improving Thermoplastic Performance Using Additives and Reinforcers

A company seeks to improve the performance properties of polyolefins, polyethylenes, and thermoplastics. Additives, ingredients, fillers, modifiers, agents, and other methods are all of interest. Properties of interest include lighter weight, higer modulus, increased tensile...

John C. Stennis Space Center provides rocket engine propulsion testing for the NASA space programs. Since the development of the Space Shuttle, every Space Shuttle Main Engine...

Briefs: Information Technology
ICER-3D Hyperspectral Image Compression Software

Software has been developed to implement the ICER-3D algorithm. ICER-3D effects progressive, threedimensional (3D), wavelet-based compression of hyperspectral images. If a compressed data stream is truncated, the progressive nature of the algorithm enables reconstruction of hyperspectral data at...

Briefs: Information Technology
Context Modeler for Wavelet Compression of Spectral Hyperspectral Images

A context-modeling subalgorithm has been developed as part of an algorithm that effects three-dimensional (3D) wavelet-based compression of hyperspectral image data. The context-modeling subalgorithm, hereafter denoted the context modeler, provides estimates of probability...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two Concepts for Deployable Trusses

Two concepts that could be applied separately or together have been suggested to enhance the utility of deployable truss structures. The concepts were intended originally for application to a truss...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Use of Nanofibers to Strengthen Hydrogels of Silica, Other Oxides, and Aerogels

Research has shown that including up to 5 percent w/w carbon nanofibers in a silica backbone of polymer crosslinked aerogels improves its strength, tripling compressive modulus and increasing tensile stress-at-break fivefold with no increase in density or decrease in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Concentric Nested Toroidal Inflatable Structures

Assemblies comprising multiple limited-height toroidal inflatable structures nested in a concentric arrangement have been invented to obtain more design flexibility than can be obtained in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Investigating Dynamics of Eccentricity in Turbomachine

A methodology (and hardware and software to implement the methodology) has been developed as a means of investigating coupling between certain rotordynamic and hydrodynamic phenomena in turbomachines. Originally, the methodology was intended for application in an investigation of coupled...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Low-Temperature Performance of Li-Ion Cells Using New Electrolytes

As part of the continuing efforts to develop advanced electrolytes to improve the performance of lithiumion cells, especially at low temperatures, a number of electrolyte formulations have been developed that result in improved low-temperature performance (down to –60...

White-light phase-conjugate mirrors would be incorporated into some optical systems, according to a proposal, as means of correcting for wavefront distortions caused by...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Biasable, Balanced, Fundamental Submillimeter Monolithic Membrane Mixer

This device is a biasable, submillimeter-wave, balanced mixer fabricated using JPL’s monolithic membrane process — a simplified version of planar membrane technology. The primary target application is instrumentation used for analysis of atmospheric constituents,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Integrity Monitoring of Mercury Discharge Lamps

Mercury discharge lamps are critical in many trapped ion frequency standard applications. An integrity monitoring system can be implemented using end-of-life signatures observed in operational mercury discharge lamps, making it possible to forecast imminent failure and to take action to mitigate...

The DIAMOND™ E-1000 from Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) is a sealed 1 kW CO2 laser that measures less than 1497mm × 471mm × 384mm, including its integrated power supply. It is suitable...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Solar Cell Processing Disk

Jenoptik (Jena, Germany) has developed the JenLas® disk IR50 for MWT and EWT (Metal Wrap Through and Emitter Wrap Through). The laser beam fits the infrared wavelength range at 1030nm with a flexible tunable pulse...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Solarization-Resistant Fibers

Fiberguide Industries (Stirling, NJ) has introduced a full line of standard solarization-resistant fibers for deep UV applications. The fibers are suitable for spectroscopy, lithography, and excimer laser...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Quantum Cascade Laser Mounts

ILX Lightwave Corporation (Bozeman, MT) has released the LDM-4872 Quantum Cascade Laser Mount with case temperature control. Designed for quantum cascade lasers, the LDM-4872 offers a wide temperature control...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Technical Paper on Pixel Sub-Stepping

PI (Auburn, MA) has published a paper on image resolution enhancement and image stabilization for electronic imaging sensors based on fast piezo actuation. The paper explains different piezoelectric...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Optical Coatings for Plastics

Deposition Sciences (Santa Rosa, CA) has developed optical thin film coatings to be deposited on materials such as Ultem®, Zeonex®, and a variety of polycarbonate plastics. These rugged coatings operate from...

Products: Photonics/Optics
High-Speed Megapixel Camera

Photron (San Diego, CA) has developed a new imaging system, the Fastcam SA5, which delivers 7,500 fps at 1024 × 1000 megapixel resolution. The camera features a 12-bit monochrome (36-bit RGB color) sensor with...

CeramOptec (East Longmeadow, MA) has increased the temperature spec on its drop-in replacement silica fiber bundles for spectrometer systems. Applications with unusually high or low temperatures...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Low-Fluorescence Optics

Optimax (Ontario, NY) has the manufacturing expertise, optics cleaning and coating technology to produce low-fluorescence optical components. These lenses are useful for deep ultraviolet (DUV) and low signal to noise...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Near-Infrared Bandpass Filters

A new series of bandpass filters from Semrock (Rochester, NY) can be applied to the near-infrared wavelength range. These hard-coated filters are keyed to popular laser lines in the 1500-1600nm region....

Products: Photonics/Optics
Q-Switched 800-Watt DPSS YAG Laser

Lee Laser (Orlando, FL) has developed a new, 800-Watt CW Nd:YAG laser that is capable of Q-switched performance in excess of 600 watts average output power at a 10-kHz pulse rate. The short pulse width...

Products: Photonics/Optics
3-Watt RGB LEDs

Lumex (Palatine, IL) has introduced the 3-Watt TitanBrite™ RGB, a square-shaped LED with dimensions of 10mm x 10mm. It can result in 30% cost savings as well as a 70% real estate savings compared to the use of individual...

The new Manlight ML1550-PL-R-OEM mini laser transmitter for LIDAR, telemetry, or range finding applications has a compact size of 90mm x 70mm x 15mm. The pulsed fiber laser provides short to ultra short...

Nextreme has integrated its OptoCooler UPF4 thermoelectric cooler into Voxtel’s VDHAX line of hermetically-packaged avalanche photodiode (APD) receivers. The OptoCooler-equipped APD device will be...

The ICI 7320 infrared camera operates on 1 watt of power via USB connection. IR Flash software provides real time radiometric data stream directly to a hard drive or portable device. The camera can be...

A methodology and software to implement the methodology are under development in an effort to automate at least part of the process of designing integrated-circuit (IC) chips that...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Computer Model Simulates the Impact of White Roofs

The first computer modeling study to simulate the impact of white roofs on urban areas worldwide - led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO -...

Dr. Robert Romanofsky has over 75 publications and holds five patents in the fields of microwave device technology, high-temperature superconductivity, and the use of...

Podcasts
Robert Romanofsky, Senior Scientist, Antenna and Optical Systems Branch

Dr. Robert Romanofsky has over 75 publications and holds five patents in the fields of microwave device technology, high-temperature superconductivity, and the use of thin ferroelectric films in microwave applications. A recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal,...

Modern industrial machines rely on fast, accurate motion control in order to achieve high product quality and productivity, as measurement errors can lead to increased scrap...

Increasingly competitive markets make efficient and accurate processes more critical than ever before. To meet the demands of manufacturers, machine builders...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
All Motors are Stepping Motors

In 1938, General Electric began producing a two-phase synchronous induction motor which, at 60 Hz, ran at 75 RPM. The low speed resulted from using a different number of rotors to stator poles or teeth, which...

The economic realities of the industrial marketplace are driving machine builders and integrators to get creative and build more intelligence into their machines in order to increase...

HARTING North America was recently asked to solve some of the problems associated with power distribution and motion control on a vehicle manufacturer’s long conveyor and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Programmable Actuator

The IDEA(TM) Drive stepper motor linear actuator from Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions (Waterbury, CT) integrates a linear actuator, electronic drive, and control unit with a patented GUI (Graphical Unit Interface). The GUI...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Servo Motor Actuator

The IMA integrated-motor actuator from Tolomatic Inc. (Hamel, MN) combines a servo motor with a rod-style actuator. Compared to rod-style actuators, the integrated design improves dynamic performance by eliminating the...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Retaining Rings

The Hoopster(R) retaining rings from Smalley Steel Ring Company (Lake Zurich, IL) fit into shallower groves than regular snap rings or retaining rings. The rings’ low-profile, precision circularity, and small radial size...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Intelligent Motor

The SM3416DT-PLS2 SmartMotor(TM) from Animatics (Santa Clara, CA) delivers up to 480 oz-in. of peak torque and over 200 oz-in. of continuous torque, at speeds of over 5,000 rpm. It incorporates high-speed position capture,...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Programmable Linear Actuator

The Series 500 programmable linear actuator from Nook Industries (Cleveland, OH) offers an expanded range of performance in generating high loads, longer life, increased duty cycles, higher speed, and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Actuator

The MDrive(R) linear actuator from Intelligent Motion Systems Inc. (Marlborough, CT) is available in non-captive and external shaft styles with a choice of NEMA 14, 17, or 23 motor sizes. It accepts input voltages from 12 to...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Motion System

Available in various versions, the LM76 linear motion system from LM76 (East Longmeadow, MA) features high-speed travel to 10 m/sec and acceleration to 50 m/sec2, and load capabilities to 1,259 lb. The low-cost,...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rod Lock

The RLN Series Rod Lock from Advanced Machine & Engineering Co. (Rockford, IL) is designed to solve pneumatic control problems such as overtravel, drifting, bouncing, and reverse traveling. The Amlok(R) type RLN is constructed of...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Encoder

The MagRes BM1V magnetic incremental encoder from Baumer Ltd.(Southington, CT) is designed to endure the operating extremes of railway vehicles. It has up to 12 channel outputs, delivering data with different pulse...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Motor Controller

The BDE40 motor controller from Crouzet North America (Vista, CA) can be used with most three-phase brushless Hall Effect motors. The device’s 4-quadrant design is suited for applications requiring not only standard...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Encoder Warning System

The Series 800 rotary encoder from Leine & Linde (Schaumburg, IL) has an integrated early warning system that detects worn-out ball bearings. The warning system monitors the completeness of the rotary encoder pulses...

Blog
Transforming Design

This week, I’m coming to you live from Anaheim, CA, and SolidWorks World 2010. The SolidWorks user community continues to flock to this annual event, and this year, there are more than 5,000 registrants learning about new features coming up in the next version of SolidWorks, as well as networking with other users,...

Uses for traditional optical time domain reflectometers, or “OTDRs” include the certification and troubleshooting of very long-haul fiber optic networks such as campus and metro networks. In...

Application Briefs: Imaging
Demystifying Optical Ethernet Networks

The TDM-to-packet network transformation has been underway in transport/ telecommunications networks for some years now, fueled primarily by two trends: (a) the advent of triple-play (voice, video,...

L-3 Infrared Products (Dallas, TX) has launched the first commercially available high-resolution Thermal-Eye Series 17-640 thermal imager. The 17-640 features a high-performance amorphous silicon...

Products: Test & Measurement
Keyence IM-6000 Series

Keyence Corporation of America, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, has introduced the IM-6000 Series dimension measurement and inspection system that features pattern registration and pattern search functions for “place and...

As devices for disease detection and diagnosis become more advanced, they also are becoming smaller. Next-generation technologies for faster detection of diseases such as cardiovascular disease,...

QE65000 Spectrometer
Ocean Optics
Dunedin, FL
727-733-2447
www.oceanoptics.com

An Ocean Optics QE65000 spectrometer has contributed measurements to the...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Near-Infrared Cameras Indicate Signature of Water on the Moon
InGaAs shortwave infrared (SWIR) cameras
Sensors Unlimited, Goodrich Corp.
Princeton, NJ
609-520-0610
www.sensorsinc.com

Shortwave infrared (SWIR)...

The figure depicts selected aspects of an apparatus for testing thermal-insulation materials for cryogenic systems at temperatures and under vacuum or atmospheric conditions representative...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Optical Testing of Retroreflectors for Cryogenic Applications

A laser tracker (LT) is an important coordinate metrology tool that uses laser interferometry to determine precise distances to objects, points, or surfaces defined by an optical reference, such as a retroreflector. A retroreflector is a precision optic consisting of three orthogonal...

An improved method and apparatus have been devised for measuring cyclic errors in the readouts of laser heterodyne interferometers that are configured and operated as displacement...

A method is proposed for end-toend, full aperture testing of large-aperture telescopes using an innovative variation of a Hartmann mask. This technique is practical for telescopes...

The figure schematically depicts a laboratory setup for determining the optical length of a fiber-optic delay line at a precision greater than that obtainable by use of optical...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Compact, Reliable EEPROM Controller

A compact, reliable controller for an electrically erasable, programmable readonly memory (EEPROM) has been developed specifically for a space-flight application. The design may be adaptable to other applications in which there are requirements for reliability in general and, in particular, for prevention of...

The design, simulation, and characterization of a novel Ka-band (32.05±0.25 GHz) rectangular waveguide two-way branch-line hybrid unequal power combiner (with port impedances...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Quad-Chip Double-Balanced Frequency Tripler

Solid-state frequency multipliers are used to produce tunable broadband sources at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. The maximum power produced by a single chip is limited by the electrical breakdown of the semiconductor and by the thermal management properties of the chip. The solution is to...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Radiation-Hardened Solid-State Drive

A method is provided for a radiationhardened (rad-hard) solid-state drive for space mission memory applications by combining rad-hard and commercial offthe- shelf (COTS) non-volatile memories (NVMs) into a hybrid architecture. The architecture is controlled by a rad-hard ASIC (application specific integrated...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Reconfigurable Hardware for Compressing Hyperspectral Image Data

High-speed, low-power, reconfigurable electronic hardware has been developed to implement ICER-3D, an algorithm for compressing hyperspectral-image data. The algorithm and parts thereof have been the topics of several NASA Tech Briefs articles, including “Context Modeler for...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Speed Ring Bus

The high-speed ring bus at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) allows for future growth trends in spacecraft seen with future scientific missions. This innovation constitutes an enhancement of the 1393 bus as documented in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1393-1999 standard for a spaceborne...

A spatio-temporal equalizer has been conceived as an improved means of suppressing multipath effects in the reception of aeronautical telemetry signals, and may be adaptable to...

Question of the Week
Will the iPad be a game-changer in the world of personal electronics?

This week’s question concerns the much-anticipated unveiling of the Apple iPad tablet computer/book reader/music, movie, and video player. At $499, Apple touts the device as a bridge between smartphones and laptops. Tech critics say it’s nothing more than a big iPhone.

...
Blog
Movies and Manufacturing

Day two at SolidWorks World, the worldwide event for SolidWorks users, drew a record crowd. And this time it wasn’t because of the sunny Southern California weather. It was because the special guest speaker happened to be James Cameron, who just this morning was nominated for Best Director and Best Picture Academy...

It has been difficult to find materials that can efficiently and safely store and release hydrogen with fast kinetics under ambient temperature and pressure, but an international research team...

A new PHEV traction drive power electronics system provides more power than typical freestanding portable generators, and can be used in emergency situations such as power outages and...

A technique for making precise, microscopic holes and grooves in glass workpieces has been invented. The technique differs from both (1) traditional macroscopic mechanical drilling...

Question of the Week
Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

This week's question concerns a recent Forbes/AP story that reported on the nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. These include a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident, and, believe it or not, the Internet. Proposed by the Italian version of Wired magazine, which...

Blog
Engineering Design at its Coolest

Day one at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West show in Anaheim, CA was bustling with energy. Nearly everyone I spoke with said that they had found themselves happily busy throughout the day.

One nice part about meeting people at trade shows is that you might come across information you...

Blog
Big Ideas for Small Innovations

Another day at MD&M West has come and gone, and I'm continuing to see a lot of focus on miniaturization -- which makes sense, considering the multitude of medical applications that could benefit from compact yet efficient devices.

The SQUIGGLE motor from New Scale Technologies measures 2.8 x 2.8 x 6 mm....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Venting Closed-Cell Foam Panels

A technique for reducing in-flight loss of closed-cell foam insulation has been devised. In the original application, foam is used for thermal insulation on the external tank of the space shuttle. As the space...

UCLA chemists have created three-dimensional synthetic DNA-like crystals that have a sequence of information which is believed to code for carbon capture. The discovery could result in a new way to...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Profiling the Atmosphere by Use of an Elevated GPS Receiver

A method of determining the radio refractivity of the atmosphere as a function of altitude involves processing of data acquired by airborne or mountain-top Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers from particular GPS satellites as those satellites rise above or fall below the horizon....

Question of the Week
Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

This week's question concerns the wonders and the woes of the American auto industry. With falling sales, the somewhat controversial "cash for clunkers" program, and the spate of bailouts that occurred last year for Detroit's "big three", the industry seems to be due for some...

University of Pennsylvania material scientists have demonstrated the transduction of optical radiation to electrical current in a molecular circuit. The array of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Thermal Detection of Gas in a Tube Containing Flowing Liquid

A relatively simple thermal technique has been proposed to enable detection of bubbles of gas or bulk gas in a tube that is meant to contain a flowing liquid only. In a system in which gas cannot be tolerated, the technique could be used to trigger a shutoff valve downstream of a...

Briefs: Materials
Electroceramic Actuators for Operation at Low Temperatures

Electrostrictive ceramic actuators that can function at low temperatures have been developed for controlling the shapes of mirrors in the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST). On Earth, electrostrictive ceramic actuators may be useful for fine control of the positions of objects in...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Eco-friendly Nanocatalyst

A new nanotech catalyst developed by McGill University chemists Chao-Jun Li, Audrey Moores, and their colleagues offers industry an opportunity to reduce the use of expensive and toxic heavy metals. Li describes the...

Question of the Week
Is hands-free texting while driving a safe alternative?

This week's question concerns the ongoing debate over texting while driving. A research team at Clemson University recently developed an application called VoiceTEXT that allows drivers to speak text messages and keep their eyes on the road at the same time. Drivers using VoiceTEXT can put...

Using arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded in a polymer substrate, California Institute of Technology scientists have created a new type of flexible solar...

Products: Energy
"Powder to Power"

Today, Bloom Energy Corporation (Sunnyvale, CA) announced the availability of the Bloom Energy Server™, a patented solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology that provides clean, affordable, and continuous onsite...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
PPM Receiver Implemented in Software

A computer program has been written as a tool for developing optical pulse-position-modulation (PPM) receivers in which photodetector outputs are fed to analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and all subsequent signal processing is performed digitally. The program can be used, for example, to simulate an...

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